Optic experts, spotter and bino advice needed

Lawnboi

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I had planned on buying high end glass this year but apparently thats not going to happen. I got into a very time consuming summer class that i hadnt planned on so im not going to make remotely the amount i thought i was over the summer.

So now i need to buy lower end glass once again! I NEED a spotter, as i sold my old one, and i would really like to upgrade my binos but i may have to live with junky ones again.

So heres the two lower dollar spotters iv been eyeing up

minox 50mm
Viper HD 65mm

Now im wondering you guys who use the 50mm size. Do you feel undergunned when glassing long distances counting points on mule deer? I need a scope for elk as well, which the 50mm would be perfect for i would think. Yet i dont want to feel naked on the prarie looking at hard horned mulies wishing i had the extra power, low light ability and clarity. Im always backpacking it so it sure would be nice to save the weight if its not coming at a huge cost.

Any other suggestions for scopes are also welcome. Im trying to keep it under 500. Also I am an eyeglass wearer before you go and suggest the ED 50.

Another thing to keep in mind is eventually before i end up moving west im going to man up and buy some big boy glass. zeiss or swaro 80mm most likly.


Next onto binos. Right now i have some leupold cascades. They worked alright, but left alot to be desired! The main bino im looking at is the vortex viper hd. Will i notice a big enough difference to make this purchase worth it? Or should i just deal with the leupolds for another year and jump up to alpha glass in the next couple years like i plan on.

Thanks for any opinions!
 

Matt Cashell

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Save the money and get the Talon HD over the Viper HD. The performance is similar, and the field of view in the Talon HD is MUCH wider than the Viper HD.

It is my opinion that the Minox Midget outperforms its size and price point, but there is no getting by objective size for glassing long distances in low light.

The Viper HD spotter would be a good choice I think, but you may want to see if you can find a deal on a Pentax PFED 65, or even the ED80 version. They can be found discounted fairly often, but are often sold without an eyepiece. They have a great sharp image.
 

dotman

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On the vortex items no one will beat Pauls prices or if they do they still are not as cool :)
 

RosinBag

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Why not buy the high end binos this year instead of average at best spotter and upgrading your binos. Spend the money on high end binos and go without a spotter or borrow one when needed. I don't think it is worth it to buy average spotter to turn around in a couple of years and buy a high end 80mm one. And not to rip your binos, but those Cascades are below average at best. You are looking at spending a lot of money for optics you plan on replacing in a couple of years where you could put all that money into binos. JMO....
 

dotman

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I personally would spend the little it takes on the minox and just save up the diff in spotters towards the one you want. For binos the vortex glass is good and I would bet you probably would be pleased using them for a few years if not more. I was going to do the same thing you are thinking about, well crap happens and I blew my budget and ordered up the new zeiss conquest hd's and will just use them and the minox this year. I feel spending $229 on the minox is a great value and does extend your glassing a little but will use my binos mainly. I also feel the 85mm spotter i'll get next year probably will only go on goat & sheep hunts plus road scouting. Maybe if i'm not solo the 85 would make a mule deer hunt but I feel the minox will do just fine and be used far more then the big gun when hunting. On pure backpacking/scouting trips the big gun will go for digiscoping.

I was talking with Aron earlier this week and he is packing twice the weight I am luggin around with his 85.

Also what you are thinking of doing will cost around $1000, that is what I have in my optics because both are demo units.
 
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Ozz08

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Dotman that's kinda what my plan is. I got my spotter stolen out of my truck at a gas station while on a scouting trip last year. I was going to go with a high end 65mm spotter but i have heard enough good things about that little minox that I have decided to pick one up for this year and then next year get a high end 80-85 mm spotter. The plan is to eventually use the big glass for scouting trips and non pack in trips. Then use the minox for all of my backpack hunts cause there is no way I'm hauling that big heavy glass on 5-7 day backback or bivy hunts. (unless of course someone else wants to carry it for me)
 

dotman

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We all need to start sending vortex emails to develop a 50mm Viper or razor hd :) You will not be disapointed in the minox and unles you have looked through one you really will not understand what a value it is.
 

Ozz08

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We all need to start sending vortex emails to develop a 50mm Viper or razor hd :) You will not be disapointed in the minox and unles you have looked through one you really will not understand what a value it is.
If vortex does make a 50mm I hope they can figure out how to cut weight on them. All of their spotters are HEAVY.
 

luke moffat

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For a one spotter show the Viper HD would be a great value for sure. The little Minox is great, but the only reason I have it is because my other spotter is a Zeiss 85mm so I wanted something I could use that didn't come in at over 6 pounds between spotter and tripod for some trips that don't require as much magnification, but still want a spotter along. I think overall there is quite the jump in optics from the little Minox to the Vortex Viper HD. Not to discount the Minox at all but objectives are kinda like car motors, there is no replacement for displacement :D
 

dotman

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For a one spotter show the Viper HD would be a great value for sure. The little Minox is great, but the only reason I have it is because my other spotter is a Zeiss 85mm so I wanted something I could use that didn't come in at over 6 pounds between spotter and tripod for some trips that don't require as much magnification, but still want a spotter along. I think overall there is quite the jump in optics from the little Minox to the Vortex Viper HD. Not to discount the Minox at all but objectives are kinda like car motors, there is no replacement for displacement :D
And just like engines there is a premium to pay, question is if that is worth it if you plan on upgrading a year from now. The viper is $300 more and yes is better but would he be better off saving the $300 to put towards glass he wants next year or put all of it in savings and go without?

If you do buy the viper once you get alpha glass will you be able to resell it for close to what you pay or will you lose 30% of purchase price because we know that at a 15oz (est) diff if you go with 85mm next year the vipers will collect dust or be sold. But like Luke you will have more of a variation next year if you go with the little minox. So, did we help :)

Luke, what would you do if you had to go a season without the 85mm and were not hunting sheep or goats? Would you just use the minox or buy a one year supplement for the Zeiss? Or would you buy nothing and just go one more year with what you have (if you also didn't have the minox)?
 
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luke moffat

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Luke, what would you do if you had to go a season without the 85mm and were not hunting sheep or goats? Would you just use the minox or buy a one year supplement for the Zeiss? Or would you buy nothing and just go one more year with what you have (if you also didn't have the minox)?
First off the highlighted part is an ABSURD question :D

Moose hunting I still need a spotter where I hunt to tell if they are legal with the needed brow tines and are worth the trip across swamps and bogs or through alders. Caribou I really dont' need a spotter, sitka deer I don't either. Bears if I was a picky bear hunter I might need a spotter, but being able to verify there aren't any cubs with it is usually enough for me to want to pursue them. ;) But yes for moose, goats and sheep a spotter is a must.

I don't scan with my spotter. I find what I want to put in my spotter with my binos and use my spotter to suck in the animal closer. Thus, FOV is of little importance to me when looking at spotting scope specs.

The little Minox is a great spotter for the weight/price. But I need a good spotter for where I hunt where to distances are great and legality of animals needs to be verified prior to pulling the trigger by analyzing antler/horn configurations. Honestly I'd rather have an REI XT 85 backpack with a Viper HD spotter than a Timberline backpack with a Minox spotter if I only coudl have one backpack and one spotter, which again is another absurd scenario. :D
 
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Lawnboi

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Save the money and get the Talon HD over the Viper HD. The performance is similar, and the field of view in the Talon HD is MUCH wider than the Viper HD.

It is my opinion that the Minox Midget outperforms its size and price point, but there is no getting by objective size for glassing long distances in low light.

The Viper HD spotter would be a good choice I think, but you may want to see if you can find a deal on a Pentax PFED 65, or even the ED80 version. They can be found discounted fairly often, but are often sold without an eyepiece. They have a great sharp image.
Do you think that money outweighs the preformance of my leupold cascades if i jump to the talon HD?

RosinBag you make a good point cause those binos left a bad taste in my mouth. But i do know that I need a spotter for one area i plan on hunting this year. Id be making a mistake not taking one.

Tough decisions. It would be so much easier if i just had the money for alpha glass :)

And as i said i dont need something to really count every inch, but picking hardhorns apart on the prarie from a ways away can get tough with cheaper glass as i found out last year.
 

Matt Cashell

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Lawnboi, get a spotter of some sort for your hunt. If you have to beg, borrow, or buy. The MD50 route would work fine, and you will be glad to have one when you need it.

The Talon HDs will be a significant improvement in performance. It is another variation of the same binocular as the Zen Ray ED2, which I posted a comparison review of here on Rokslide. I have seen the Talon HD, and it is closer to the alphas than the Cascades.
 

barmar65

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I am going to look at the talon hd and viper hd this week and wonder how much of an upgrade they are from my pentax
dcf wp I bought 12 years ago
 

Nick Muche

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Why do people complain about a few extra ounces when talking about packing glass around.. That glass will save you many miles if used properly... I'd leave my bow at the house before I left my spotting scope.
 

barmar65

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Well I check out the vipers and the talons and they are a considerable upgrade over my pentax. Very very bright and clear in my opinion. I didnt get the chance to check them out in lowlight , but they are as good as or better than anything else I have looked at. I will check out the zen rays ed3s yet before i buy,
 

sk1

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Well I check out the vipers and the talons and they are a considerable upgrade over my pentax. Very very bright and clear in my opinion. I didnt get the chance to check them out in lowlight , but they are as good as or better than anything else I have looked at. I will check out the zen rays ed3s yet before i buy,
I've looked at both only in store, I dont think you could go wrong with either, lose some FOV with the viper but its smaller and lighter.....gain alot of FOV with the talon and pretty darn close to the quality of the viper minus the eyecups IMO, but their warranty is awesome so id get what is the most comfortable to you

new london wi? i used to fish the wolf river walleye run around there
 
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